Someone Check on Grandpa: Mass Murder Via Pacemaker Hack Is Now Possible

By Leslie Horn on at

If you're an maniacal villain, please stop reading now. Apparently pacemaker transmitters can be reverse-engineered to deliver deadly shocks.

A researcher named Barnaby Jack (that has to be a fake name) recently demonstrated this dubious capability with a video at a security conference in Australia. Basically, he showed there's a secret function inside of the terminals that communicate with these electronic tickers that can be used to activate all pacemakers and implanted defibrillators in a 30-foot radius. The pacemakers will then turn over their serial and model numbers, so it's possible to upload firmware that can be spread among several implants. Once that's installed, Jack could use his laptop to send a series of 830-volt shocks to the pacemakers. Then boom! Death. Worst case scenario? This could be used to commit mass murder on the elderly:

"The worst case scenario that I can think of, which is 100 percent possible with these devices, would be to load a compromised firmware update onto a programmer and … the compromised programmer would then infect the next pacemaker or ICD and then each would subsequently infect all others in range," Jack said.

Jack, meanwhile, won't release the video publicly because he doesn't want psychopaths getting any ideas. And while he gave no evidence as to whether or not he escaped from a mental institution, knows Russian, or has a background in Jiu-Jitsu, he has to be a spy. Has to. [SC Magazine via PopSci]

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